Somerset Coronavirus Appeal funds innovative projects to support people with disabilities during lockdown

May 21, 2020

Two community groups based in Somerset have been helping people with disabilities adapt to a new way of life since the coronavirus outbreak, thanks to grants awarded from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, which was set up by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) in response to the current crisis.

Nova Sports and Coaching are using a £3,000 grant from SCF to deliver free Sports Care Packages to Somerset families who have a disabled child, helping them to remain active while staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Alex Johnson, Director at the organisation, explained: “Many families with disabled children are staying home for 3 months as recommended by the government. We want to provide them with more ways to have fun and keep active with sports equipment packages we personally deliver to them safely at home. Families can create their own packages from our extensive list of items, or for children with more complex sensory or physical needs, a professional can make a referral so we can create a bespoke package for them.

“Items include standard sports equipment like tennis rackets and footballs, as well as sensory equipment like flexi rings and adapted equipment like nest balls and beach balls.”

One parent, Alison from Frome, said of the packages: “Thanks so much for Ettie’s delivery today. She was so excited when she saw your van arrive and drove straight out to get her package. We will have a lot of fun with those treats.”

Allison Ward, from Autism Somerset, explained how a £10,000 grant from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal is helping them to move their services online: “We’re providing anxiety strategies and support for individuals and families, carers and professionals either with ASD, autistic traits or mental health needs, or those who are working or caring for someone with those needs.

“The funding will go towards the cost of resources and for our trainers who will deliver autism, anxiety & relaxation sessions online, as well as delivering live autism strategy workshops, relaxation sessions and one-to-one coaching sessions. Fortnightly newsletters are keeping subscribers up to date.”

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has grown to over £660,000 in the two months since its launch on Thursday 19 March [correct as at 21/05/2020].

The appeal is raising money to fund local charities and community organisations supporting those in most urgent need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and donations have come from local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses.

£330,000 of grants have now been awarded to almost 140 groups across the county, including foodbanks and food delivery schemes, support services for older people, and virtual counselling, with more funding going out every week.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for local charities, community organisations and volunteer groups helping those in most urgent need during the coronavirus outbreak, and SCF pledges to award funding within three working days.  Any groups wishing to apply should visit the SCF website, where they can complete a short, simple application form:  

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949.

To support the national NET appeal, please visit:

If you have any queries you can contact SCF by email at: or, if that isn’t possible, you can call: 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

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